From iconic spies to romantic leads, we’re used to stars playing younger than they actually are (see: Brad, Johnny, Tom, etc.). But sometimes it goes past that subtle and acceptable tipping point into complete farce.
Here are some of cinema’s most age-inappropriate performances…
Roger Moore – ‘A View To A Kill’
The English icon was always more adept at pulling off the lover part of Bond rather than the fighter, but his final 007 performance was just plain cringeworthy. Not all that surprising considering that Moore was 58 at the time of the 1985 movie (celebrating its 30th anniversary this weekend), surely past any field agent’s retirement age. No wonder he looks so terrified when he’s about to sleep with Grace Jones.
Sean Connery – Never Say Never Again
It would be unfair to criticise poor Rog without mentioning his predecessor, who couldn’t quite hide the middle-aged spread in this 1983 unofficial cash-in. Connery was 53 when he took the money and ran, looking more like on-screen lover Kim Basinger’s dad.
Steven Seagal – Everything since about 1996
There’s no doubt that this Buddhist-slash-asskicker has got mad martial arts skills, but once the stardom really took off, so did Seagal’s motivation for looking authentic on-screen begin to dissipate. Mind you, this picture from 2009’s ‘A Dangerous Man’ may be one of the funniest things you see all week, but he could still crush us like a flea – if he could be bothered.
Tobey Maguire – ‘Spider-Man 3’
Watching a then-32-year-old Maguire boogying down the street as an early-20s Peter Parker was amongst the cheesiest moments in this 2007 misfire, which almost derailed the entire Spidey franchise.
Nicole Kidman – ‘Grace of Monaco’
Kidman is a fine actress, but aged 45 at the time of filming, she was tasked with playing the actress-turned-princess during 1962, when the real Grace Kelly was 33. Kidman’s face may be more line-free than some 45-year-olds, but it proved an impossible and poorly-conceived task. Not helped by the rest of the 2014 flop to be fair.
Clint Eastwood – ‘The Bridges Of Madison County’
Director Clint clearly couldn’t resist the chance to romance Meryl Streep in this 1995 flick, despite being wildly too old at 65. The original novella about a brief love affair between a bored housewife and dashing photographer did focus on an older couple, but more middle-aged (Streep was perfect at 45), than OAP.
Stockard Channing – ‘Grease’
Okay, so everyone is actually too old in the high school classic, but for some reason – maybe it’s her chutzpah – Channing as Rizzo takes the cake. She was great, sure, but at 34, she takes you out of the film.
Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer - ‘Romeo And Juliet’ (1936)
The star-crossed lovers in Shakespeare’s romantic epic are supposed to be teenagers, but the leads of this lavish thirties MGM adaptation were considerably older. Shearer, cast at the behest of her husband, MGM boss Irving Thalberg, was 34 at the time while Howard was even older at 43. Critic Stephen Orgel calls the film “largely miscast … with a preposterously mature pair of lovers”.
Shirley Henderson – ‘Harry Potter’
Considering what a successful young cast they got, it’s slightly bizarre that the filmmakers behind the Potter franchise hired a then-36-year-old Henderson to play ghostly Hogwarts student Moaning Myrtle. The Scottish actress is funny (and scary) in her two appearances, but it remains a strange anomaly of the adaptations.
Barbra Streisand – ‘Yentl’
This story about a young Jewish girl who dresses as a boy to learn Talmudic law was a passion project for Streisand, who didn’t care that she was 41 at the time of the 1983 movie, even though her character was supposed to be 17. Hey – what Babs wants, Babs gets.
Picture credits: Giphy/Everett/Warner Bros./Sony/Moviestore/Rex_Shutterstock/Snap Stills